What’s Missing From U.K Festivals?


Festival season is among us!

Anyone who has seen the images and videos from Week 1 of Coachella 2017 will tell you it looks like festival goals! It’s no surprise that last year it grossed revenue of $94.2m.  Aside from the beaming Cali sun & outfits, Coachella brings in a diverse crowd each and every year, by providing a plethora of artists to cater to each music genre, being the ‘must attend’ festival of the year for celebrities and festival go-ers.

The U.K puts on a large range of festivals each year from Wireless to V Fest, Glastonbury to Lovebox. As a lover of live music and events, festivals provide the perfect summer vibe. However, something about U.K festivals in recent years seems to be missing the mark a little. There are many, many things that the U.K excel at, but I think there’s a couple of pointers we could take from a U.S counterparts.

Weather: Some things are beyond our control, such as the temperamental forecasts. The U.K is notorious for rain, it’s almost guaranteed that if you’re attending Glasto, mud and wellies are part of the process, however for some this is also part of the fun.

Number of Artists: Festival organisers can have over 100 artists performing at their event any year. Though, there is still a need for more, we’re greedy and we want the most out of our money. Before deciding to buy tickets to any festival, I pick out how many artists on the line up I actually want to see.  Though the U.K music scene is insane right now, it is still a necessity to have a strong line up of U.S artists. With this incurs flight fees, performance fees, the lot which may explain why on the whole, there tends to be less artists performing at U.K festivals.

Variety of Artists: One element that makes Coachella pretty unique is the sheer variety of acts performing. There are artists from every genre performing and this opens up the festival to all walks of life. Previously, the U.K had dedicated festivals to each genre, & to some degree still does. Wireless was predominately for Urban talent, Lovebox for House, Glasto for Rock, so much so that when Jay Z was announced as the Glastonbury headliner in 2008 – the first rapper in its history – Noel Gallagher hit out saying having ‘hip hop at Glastonbury is wrong’, with many others agreeing. The argument reignited when Kanye West was announced as the 2015 headliner.  Though I see the appeal of sole genre festivals, the ones which are becoming the most popular such as V-Fest & Bestival host a variety of different artists.

The Location: No matter what festival you go to, travelling (particularly home) always seems like a mission. For the biggest festivals that involve camping or large numbers like Glasto, Bestival and Isle of Wight, you have to go further afield to be able to accommodate, so it is expected.  For city/day festivals, finding a good spot with transport links is key. Wireless Fest was at its peak at Hyde Park. It had a brief stint at the Olympic Park which was my favourite year in terms of artists, but was not the best for location. Now, it resides at Finsbury Park, but still feels disjointed. Nonetheless, our venues definitely aren’t as glamorous as the Cali desert or Grand Park in LA etc.

Hygiene: I’ve never been to an American festival, but from what I’ve read & heard, we are seriously lacking in the hygiene department. Anti-bacterial and wipes are necessities, and there’s no-where to freshen or glam yourself up to get you through the rest of the day. How you arrive is how you stay.

The U.K definitely seems to have a much more relaxed vibe, we came to have a good time; festivals also mark the summer season, a chance to vibe, drink and be merry! There is definitely room for improvement, but regardless of what it’s missing, festivals in their current state seem to meeting the demands in the U.K, for the most part. It’s one of the few times of the year, that we all come together and bond through a love of music.